Ramadan: “In the heat, I have never heard a player complain”, Alain Portes recounts his experience at the head of the Tunisian selection

Ramadan: “In the heat, I have never heard a player complain”, Alain Portes recounts his experience at the head of the Tunisian selection

Alain Portes led the Tunisian selection between 2009 and 2013. dpa – Jens Wolf

Former handball player and coach of Usam, Alain Portes, talks about his experience with Tunisia, with whom he had to manage periods of Ramadan.

Tunisia, Al-Duhail (Qatar), Algeria: Alain Portes’s coaching career took him to lead teams from Muslim countries.

During his first year in Tunisia, the former coach of Les Bleues discovered how handball had adapted to the Ramadan period.

"It’was the end of August, so the federation moved the start of the championships to the end of Ramadan. On the other hand, for the preparation matches, they took place after breaking the fast, so we started playing at 10:30 p.m. As a coach, I went to see all the teams and I happened to going home at 2 or 3 a.m. ", he remembers.

But he also experienced Ramadan during the London Olympic Games (2012). "It’was straddling the end of the preparation and the start of the tournament. It was in July, we started in Tunisia, it wasn't easy,< /em>he says. The Tunisian leaders have therefore planned everything to allow the players to experience this period as best as possible while preparing in the most effective way for the English Games.

"An imam came to see the team at the start of the gathering. He reminded the players of the rules, explaining at length that if their health was in danger, or if it was to be efficient at work, they could skip or postpone a day." Only one player will ultimately decide to scrupulously follow the precepts.

Fasting on the go

OJ obliges, the staff cannot afford to lighten the preparation too much so that the team is ready for the start of the competition."The start of the preparation was difficult, in the heat. I've never heard a player complain. Everyone adapted their own way of doing Ramadan, remembers Alain Portes. On travel days, which can be an exception, the players all fasted. It was truly a day of celebration and besides, I was like them. I felt that it pleased them. It brought them very close."

Alain Portes never observed that the performances of his players were affected by the effects of Ramadan. "I’was the foreigner, I respected that 200%, I’was happy to share this moment with them. It was a real moment of sharing."

"I’was receptive to the way they were experiencing it all. They always associated me. In Tunisia, I never had a fast-breaking meal in the evening by myself. I’have always been invited", smiles the former Algeria coach.

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